South Korea plans to increase defense spending of 7.1 percent in the next 5 years

According to the South Korean Press Agency Yonhap News, South Korea plans to increase defense spending by an average of 7.1 percent each year over the next five years to beef up self-reliant capabilities amid evolving missiles threats from North Korea, the defense ministry said Wednesday, August 14, 2019.

South Korea plans to increase defense spending of 7.1 percent in the next 5 years 925 001
KM-SAM showed for the first time to the public during Seoul Air Show 2017. (Picture source Army Recognition)

Announcing its five-year defense blueprint, the ministry sought to spend US$239.88 billion for the 2020-2024 period -- 103.8 trillion won on improving defense capabilities and the remaining 186.7 trillion won on force management.

The planned budget for strengthening defense capabilities marks a 10.3 percent on-year increase over the next five years, and that for managing troops, facilities and equipment by 5.3 percent on average through 2024, according to the South Korean ministry.

In this new defense budget plan, the South Korean ministry would like to invest US$28 trillion for projects aims at countering threats from nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction.

The South Korean ministry also calls for the advancement of its missile defense program by featuring early warning radars for better detection, enhancing patriot and Cheolmae 2 missiles and wrapping up the development of L-SAM, a long-range surface-to-air missile.

The L-SAM is a South Korean missile defense system under development, which intercepts missiles at an altitude of 40-60 kilometers. It aims to shoot down ballistic missiles from North Korea in their terminal phase. It will use a trailer-mounted S-band AESA radar. Performance levels were to be twice as superior to the Patriot and Cheolmae II missiles and was expected to be based on the Russian S-400 missile system technology.

The Cheolmae-2 which is also known as the KM-SAM or Cheongung or M-SAM is a South Korean medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system that was developed by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) with technical support from Almaz-Antey and Fakel, based on technology from the 9M96 missile used on S-350E and S-400 missile systems.

The Cheolmae-2 missile can intercept targets up to an altitude of 15 km (49,000 ft) at a range of 40 km (25 mi). It is to replace upgraded MIM-23 Hawk batteries in South Korea.

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